Apple Event October 2021: AirPods and MacBook Pro officially announced

Here's everything that was announced at Apple's October launch event

How to watch the Apple Event October 2021, image shows an Apple logo in the style of Star Wars hyperspeed effects
(Image credit: Apple)

The next Apple Event has now happened and you can watch it in the video embedded below, on Apple's YouTube page, or at apple.com.

Here's everything that was announced:

AirPods 3 are official! With AirPods Pro-like design with shorter sticks, and Spatial Audio 3D audio support. An all-new driver just for these AirPods. Sweat and water resistance. There's no in-ear tip like AirPods Pro, but you still get customised audio for your hearing. 6 hours of battery life. $179, with AirPods 2nd Gen dropping to $129.

• The "re-imagined" MacBook Pro is here! 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch sizes. New thermal system moves 50% more air with quieter running. 16.8mm thick, 4.7 lbs on the bigger model. The design looks a lot like the the old polycarbonate MacBooks (this is a good thing). Smaller bezels, and there's a notch cut-out to fit the camera in (that won't be controversial). There are higher-res screens, with ProMotion support for variable refresh rates, and mini-LED screens for HDR just like the awesome iPad Pro 12.9-inch. The Touch Bar is dead, replaced with… function keys! More ports: HDMI, 3x Thunderbolt 4, SD card, headphone jack (with support for high-impedance headphones) and MagSafe. Improved 1080p webcam, better built-in mics. Larger and more powerful speaker systems. Up to 12 hours of video playback, and can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes.

• The new MacBook Pros will run a new M1 Pro chip. Up to 32GB memory, 10-core processor, with 8 high-performance cores and 2 efficiency cores. 16 GPU cores, which is twice as many as the M1. ProRes hardware acceleration for video editors. A whole engine just for driving high-end displays – can drive two 6K displays at the same time.

• And there's an even better new chip: M1 Max! Up to 64GB of memory, also with 10-core processor, but with a 32-core GPU, plus even more custom hardware for video encoding. Delivers the power of high-end dedicated laptop GPUs at 40% less power – and doesn't drop its performance when running on battery. It can drive three 6K displays plus a 4K display.

Apple Music Voice Plan – $4.99 per month, and it means you can have access to all of Apple Music, but as long as you only use your voice to control it. Kind of weird.

HomePod mini comes in 3 new colours – yellow, orange and blue, as well as the original white and black. They're fun! Very reminiscent of the iMac 24-inch (2021).

The really big releases we're expecting today are 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with a new design and ridiculously powerful 'M1X' Apple-made processors. Not only do we expect these new chips to add a lot of regular processing power compared to the M1 chip in the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), but also massively more powerful graphics. On paper, the new MacBook Pros could rival the PS5 for graphical power…

The MacBook Pros are also said to feature smaller bezels around the screen, and the display itself may be an advanced mini-LED panel, just like the astonishing new iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021). It's also claimed that Apple will be bringing some ports back to the MacBook Pro, so you won't have to get by on USB-C ports alone.

The Mac Mini is also reported to get a version with the new more powerful Apple processor, which would make it one hell of a powerhouse for its size.

And for those of us who don't need super-powered processing, we expect AirPods 3 to finally make their debut at this event, in good time to be the year's hottest Christmas gift. These are said to get a new design that looks more like AirPods Pro, and will likely feature improved sound quality and support for Apple's Spatial Audio 3D audio feature – but we don't expect any active noise cancellation.

Perhaps where will be more surprises to come still. Other Macs – such as a larger iMac in the new design, or a new-look MacBook Air – are rumoured to come next year, but perhaps Apple will give us all our presents early.

Matthew Bolton
Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's master of all things audiovisual, running our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also handles smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's the only one on the team who can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable.

Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair.